The Omniscience of God
It’s amazing how much of God’s nature we take for granted. We can’t see him but yet he is ever present and ever knowing. Our day to day business is often conducted with no thought of God’s omniscience that is he knows all, in fact he knows everything that goes on in our daily lives and more often than not we live without acknowledging this fact. There is something to be said about a healthy fear of God and to develop that one must gain an understanding of his nature.
When I started this series it was with the intent to get more folks interested in the study of the God of the Bible because I believe it will change the way we live for him.
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the Psalmist (Psalm 139) reveals to his meditations on his understanding of God’s omniscience. ‘O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me” In my opinion a good study of this Psalm will help maintain a proper awareness of the presence of God and his knowledge of his creatures. God help us all as we seek a more comprehensive understanding with him whom we have to do. May we learn to draw close to a God who loves us, and cares for us and unlike the failings of finite man, knows us through and through, not just ye name, but intimately as dear children.
What is the Omniscience of God
Not sure if I covered this in previous podcasts but we will often use terms that are not found in the word of God, like Sovereignty, Trinity, Bible and many of the terms associated with this series as in the case here with Omniscience.
The word omniscience breaks down in the Latin – Omni (All Directional).
* Omni – Word Origin and History for omni-. word-forming element meaning “all,” from Latin omni, combining form of omnis “all, every, the whole, of every kind,”
* Science – (from Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.
God has all around knowledge. He knows the past, present and future. He knows all things concerning creation, concerning man, including the very heart of man. He is not taken by surprise nor is he trying to catch up. All things are before him and he is before all things. God’s omniscience means that he is not restricted by temporal things.
God knows our deepest heartfelt desires, hurts, our cares and hopes. He knows if we regard iniquity in our hearts and whether we are genuine.
John Owen gives a great definition of God’s omniscience “He sees inside of all; and what men are there, that they are to him. He sees not as we see, but ponders the hidden man of the heart. No humble, broken, contrite soul shall lose one sigh or groan after him; and communion with him; No part of love or desire is hid from him; – he sees in secret; no glorious performance of the most glorious hypocrite will avail with him, – his eyes look through all, and the filth of their hearts lies naked before him.”
Arthur Pink – Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite” (Ps. 147:5). God not only knows whatsoever has happened in the past in every part of His vast domains, and He is not only thoroughly acquainted with everything that is now transpiring throughout the entire universe, but He is also perfectly cognizant of every event, from the least to the greatest, that ever will happen in the ages to come. God’s knowledge of the future is as complete as is His knowledge of the past and the present, and that, because the future depends entirely upon Himself. Were it in anywise possible for something to occur apart from either the direct agency or permission of God, then that something would be independent of Him, and He would at once cease to be Supreme. Reference: The Attributes of God, Baker Book House, p. 19.
Thomas Watson – “…The Lord is a God of knowledge;” or as the Hebrew word is, “A God of knowledges.” He has a full idea and cognisance of all things; the world is to him a transparent body. He makes a heart-anatomy. “I am he who searches the thoughts and the heart.” The clouds are no canopy, the night is no curtain—to draw between us and his sight. “Even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are both alike to you.”
Opposing View Point
The word anthropomorphism comes from two Greek words, anthropos, meaning “man,” and morphe, meaning “form.” As far as our understanding of God, anthropomorphism is used making God in some way into the form of man. That is human characteristics are applied to God, Human traits and actions such as talking, holding, reaching, feeling, hearing, and the like. It’s important to remember that is incomprehensible much about him is way past our understanding and so the anthorporphisms are used to help us comprehend God in a finite way.
Like many of God’s attributes anthroporphisms are used to help us, finite beings to conceptualize the action taken place; to gain better understanding within the framework of our ability to perceive God.
One of the opposing viewpoints which had its origins around the time of the Reformation was a system called Socinianism/Open theism. There are many heretical issues and some of them although disguised under a different title you still see them today –
• They held to a belief that all biblical/doctrinal truths must be understood under the umbrella of reason. In other words certain doctrines like the trinity must be fully understood within the framework of our reason
• They denied that Christ appeased the wrath of God and died as a substitute on the cross. They believed he merely died as an example. It was believed this would motivate us to forsake sin.
• They deny that God is omniscient
1) Psalm 139:1-2 “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down,” and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.”
2) Job 37:16 Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?
3) Proverbs 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
4) Hebrews 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
In showing deity I wanted to include some references to the omniscience of Christ.
1) Jesus knew who would betray him in John 13:11
2) The disciples acknowledge that Jesus knew all things and that he came from God – John 16:30
3) Jesus knew that Peter would deny him before the cock crows three times – Luke 22:34
4) Peter acknowledged the omniscience of Christ in John 21:17
5) Jesus searches the reigns and the hearts according to Revelation 2:23
What it Means for the Believer
1) God has perfect knowledge of all his children. There isn’t a moment that goes by where he is not present and aware of what is going in our lives and hearts. He knows your:
a. Thoughts – Psalm 94:11
b. Afflictions – 1 Corinthians 10:13
c. Words/actions – Psalm 139-4
2) God’s omniscience is a comfort in that we know he will not forget our prayers. In fact because of his omniscience he knows what we are going to ask before we even ask;
3) God’s omniscience is a comfort because he knows what we need before we even ask. Matthew 6:25-32
4) God’s omniscience is a comfort in that he knows when you are struggling, fearful and even doubting and is ever available to comfort us. Like our children our Father in heaven never lets us out of his sight.
5) God’s omniscience gives us comfort because he knows what’s best for his children
6) God’s omniscience is encouraging because he knows all of his children by name and not one will ever be left behind.
What it means for the Unregenerate
Arthur Pink – “Men would strip Deity of His omniscience if they could – what a proof that “the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7)! The wicked do as naturally hate this Divine perfection as much as they are naturally compelled to acknowledge it. They wish there might be no Witness of their sins, no Searcher of their hearts, no Judge of their deeds. They seek to banish such a God from their thoughts.”
Jonathan Edwards – “Man Naturally God’s Enemy” He stated that there are five reasons why the natural man hates God:
1) God’s holiness – We are not holy
2) God’s Omniscience – – He knows we are not holy
3) God’s Omnipotence – Because this offends our autonomy
4) God’s Mercy – Because it is a holy mercy
5) God’s Immutability – Because God will never be less than what he is
The publick witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is even more important in this day and age than ever before. By doing this we keep a holy God before men, men who are trying to temper the blows from the Holy Spirit through the written word.
1) Because of God’s omniscience NOTHING will escape his judgment – Romans 2:2,3,6
a. Revelation 20:11-15
2) Because of God’s Omniscience no sin will go unnoticed, no idol word, no wickedness, vile heartedness will go unchecked with God
a. The wages of sin is death. Spiritual death and physical death